AAPL Stock: 117.81 ( -0.22 )

Printed from

Android apps 'plagued' by low sales, odd rules

updated 07:55 pm EDT, Mon August 31, 2009

Android App Sales Low

A look at one Android app's performance today suggests Google may be unintentionally stifling its smartphone OS. While a recent AdMob study estimates Android Market's paid app market is only worth $5 million, Larva Labs' Matt Hall notes that even high-profile, highly rated Android titles generate "much lower" revenue than iPhone equivalents. Despite having one sustained top-selling $5 game (Retro Defense), a consistent fifth place seller (Battle for Mars) and being highlighted by Google, the company's daily average revenue was just $62.39 for all its apps combined.

In relation, an iPhone app with a fifth place position in the App Store is predicted to earn about $3,500 per day, or more than what the same Android title would generate in 56 days. Android apps' sales figures are only likely to be worse for apps that rank lower, Hall adds.

At least some of the poor revenue is blamed directly on Google's approach to marketing paid apps on Android Market. The company defaults to showing free apps first and forces users to enable viewing paid apps themselves. Any app is also limited to a short 325-character description and can't even come with screenshots -- an "insane" decision given how much time is spent developing apps, according to the developer.

For those who do want to buy, Google Checkout is the only choice and isn't well-adapted to large volumes of sales. Failed downloads also remain a significantly larger problem on Android Market than on the App Store.

Google has been contacted for comment but hasn't had an opportunity to respond.

The observations support behavior noticed in the earlier study, which noted that just 19 percent of Android smartphone users bought apps and that the average price for these was lower than for iPhone or iPod touch purchases. While it's not clear what's most likely driving Apple's success with third-party development, its store has readily visible top ten lists for both paid and free apps and shows new apps without preference to their actual cost.

by MacNN Staff



  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sorry Guys

    You cannot write general software to run successfully on multiple hardware configurations. Of course your microtard IT guy who makes his living off of trying to fix such things will tell you otherwise. It is money in his pocket you know.

  1. joecab

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Android Linux roots show

    I get the feeling Android (barring any big changes in their next iterations) is going to be the "Linux" of cellphones: there will be some very good apps doing things you can't do on an iPhone, but they'll be free ones. t'd be interesting to see how how Palm is doing in this regard.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Multiple Androids?

    There aren't many Android devices out there to cater for - and all 4 OS X touch devices have different hardware configurations (CPU speed, GPU capability, GPS, Compass, etc) - but a uniform screen size sure helps.

    It's interesting to see that Google is showing a bias towards free apps (presumably as these will either be truly free, or use advertising - and therefore probably Google - to subsidise themselves).

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Well, I wonder what

    the biyatches that are always complaining that the Apple App Store is so crappy and is going to fail within a few months have to say about the Android store.

    People think it's so darn easy to run a business by just snapping your fingers. They say to change this and change that, but I'll bet the App Store is going to have to be redesigned from the ground up. I doubt if Apple ever thought the store was going to be this big with eventually 100,000 applications to catalogue.

    I'm curious to see how all these developers and users who leave Apple in a huff because of the platform's rigid structure, fare on another supposedly much more open and better platform. They just don't get why you need to exert a lot of control over a developing platform to keep it on track. I'm amazed that a platform like Android that has no restrictions can develop properly over the long term. I guess in time we'll see whether a controlled or open platform works best for both developers and users.

  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You mean software doesn't run on the macbook, macbook pro, mac pro, air, etc.? These computers have entirely different specs and screen sizes.

    Maybe you want to try that again?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: well I wonder

    the biyatches that are always complaining that the Apple App Store is so crappy and is going to fail within a few months have to say about the Android store.

    I never heard one person say the app store was going to fail within a few months (esp. since it is Apple who is running it, and they don't care if it makes money, etc).

    And what is the big complaint about the android store? That they are advertising the free apps first and foremost, rather than the pay ones.

    They just don't get why you need to exert a lot of control over a developing platform to keep it on track.

    You do NOT need to exert a lot of control to keep it on track. That's a load of c***. Do you really think if the Android store had rigid controls and app validation, it would be magically selling 10 times more apps than it does now? Seriously?

    Apple exerts a lot of control because they're trying to control the complete look and feel of everything that appears on the iPhone, and make sure no one creates an app that will circumvent their or their partners revenue streams.

    But maybe that's the problem. No one's buying any android apps because their filled with words like 'f***'! Thank god for Apple's vocabulary police!

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    amazingly short sighted

    Android started one year with a single phone, and now has 2, in the U.S. market.

    But that doesn't change the fact that they will have over 20 by next year.

    Motorola is launching in September on two carrier. Samsung is bring a couple phones. HTC is releasing more models. And there are several others.

    If you look at whats on the drawing boards, 2010 Android is about to break out in huge numbers. App developers look at these trends.

    Apple has about zero chance in the huge cell phones of Brazil/Russia/India/China and in the prepay markets of the United States and Europe too...why? Because they are only one vendor, and a vendor that charges a premium price to boot.

    That won't fly in over 75% of the worlds cell phone markets.

    And you know what? Steve Jobs knows this, and has been as CLEAR AS HE CAN BE...that he is not going for a majority share, but just trying to stake out the profitable, and highly desired niche on the upper end of the market.

    So if anyone thinks Apple's app store will maintain a lead...Guess again, you aren't thinking clearly and you don't understand the world.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969



    p.s. Android's users don't buy as many Apps as Apple's users, and that won't change as Android continues to move down market, replacing the market that used to be dominated by 'feature phones'

    However, the sheer numbers will overwhelm Apple, as Android phones by 2011 will be under $99 each.

    Blackberry which has a lousy browser, but still is ahead of Apple in marketshare (thanks to their early lead in the busienss segment)...will finally get a decent browser in 2010.

    Nokia, is finally understanding the smartphone market and their 40% share in the feature phone marketplace will give them some leverage to convert customers to their smartphones.

    And Palm should enjoy the buzz the got for a little while....its a nasty market, don't see how they have the size to compete, but nice OS, good try Palm...pat on the back, nice knowing you.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented